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Man robbed at gunpoint near Greer Park

Original post made on Feb 9, 2013

A man was robbed at gunpoint in the carport of an apartment complex on the 1000 block of Tanland Drive on Saturday morning, Feb. 9, according to police.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, February 9, 2013, 5:57 PM

Comments (40)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Scary. So glad nobody was hurt. So glad nobody tried any kind of vigilante shoot out which could have injured many people.

Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2013 at 6:51 pm

You've either been watching too many movies or believe the Fox News gun control narrative Resident. There was no mention in the article that the victim was packing heat.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Hulk, not sure what you are talking about.

I was just thinking of all the things the NRA says that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun. I am just pleased that nobody, victim or anyone else in the vicinity was armed - legally or illegally.

I don't speak colloquialisms, I speak English. That way it is easier for us all to understand each other.

Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2013 at 8:42 pm

From my old timer perspective, the real problem is that too many folks tolerate and even try to protect gun toting criminals.

Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Why doesn't this article state the time? Was it 2AM? 9AM? More bad things happen at 2AM. If it happened in the morning when people are up and around, it's even scarier because it displays more desperation.

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm

This exact thing happened a few years back and was reported. I cannot recall if it was a successful robbery or not, but I think it was a woman who was held up or mugged in the garage or carport there.

I am sure if it was me that being held up at gunpoint I would much rather have a gun than not - and though I do not own firearms at this point, when I keep reading about burglaries, home invasions, strongarm robberies and the like in quiet Palo Alto I certainly think about getting one.

What is there to deter criminals who are reading about this right along with the rest of us and do not see the perpetrators - maybe their friends getting caught or punished?

Our city is large, and the criminals are not stupid, they are creative and more mobile than ever before with a public that is less perceptive and community oriented as well. I think it's time that this apartment complex and others install surveillance cameras.

The city should not sit on its hands while this problem escalates and people are put in danger.

Posted by Me
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Of course police were unable to locate the suspect. They are so pre-occupied with traffic stops and other stupid revenue generating b.s. that they aren't actually doing what the citizens' stolen money is paying them to do. I live in this apartment complex and I expect 24 hour security from now on or I'm not paying another dime to the Franchise Tax Board.

Posted by Reality
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:19 pm

"Anon" - If you had been held up at gunpoint and had a gun, what would you do? Would you take out the gun? If the suspect saw the gun and then shot you, then what? I think we know the answer to that... ;-) "A good guy with a gun" may be a good answer to "a bad guy with a gun." But only if he is already shooting are in certain limited situations where shooting is highly likely (such as a hostage situation).

What we can all do to create a safer environment is to be more aware of our surroundings. The victim in this situation could have possibly avoided the situation had he been more aware of what may have been unfolding. And others in the area may have seen the suspect lurking around but didn't pause to watch closer and call the police if there seemed to be a serious chance something bad might happen.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm

This has more detail:
Web Link

Really - the FTB? Why do they owe you security? Sheesh, call your lousy landlord - this isn't a taxpayer issue.

Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Don't blame the police for not catching this guy. They didn't get the call until he was out of site and he could have been far away by the time they got there. And they probably got there pretty fast. If there were any fingerprints on the car or elsewhere, maybe they could have done something with that. But I doubt there was enough evidence. At least the victim wasn't hurt.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I just heard about this from a neighbor. As a resident of this complex it was strange seeing Palo alto city cops waking through the building this morning. Thank goodness no one was hurt. There are a lot of young families and little children living here. I will definitely be more cautious and keep an eye out for suspicious looking people milling about. Supposedly (according to my neighbor) the apartment management is trying to keep the incident quiet and doesn't want word to get out. If that's true, its moronically stupid of them to take that stance.

Posted by Me
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Please tell me if it's not PAPD's job to protect me, it's my landlord's responsibility? The police are paid by the state so i tis a FTB issue.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:33 pm

No, it's not an FTB issue - you're being silly. You really think your local PD is paid by the state???

Of course it's your landlord's responsibility to keep you safe on private property, which is why you can sue if they're negligent. Do they have surveillance cameras or security patrols? Is it a gated complex? PAPD is in charge of public safety in your city & of course that includes to your complex, but the landlord is also responsible. Has there been a pattern of crime or other safety issues on the property? What safety amenities do they advertise? These are things to pay attention to so you can assess your landlords' willingness to deal w/safety and security issues. I'm not saying run to find a lawyer, but I am saying it's an often overlooked area that landlords are responsible for.

We have security where I live & we can call them about onsite (private property) issues, ranging from noise & other hassles to real serious issues. If this nasty episode happened here, security, the cops AND the landlord would become involved.

You deserve to be safe & you deserve a landlord who doesn't duck these issues.

Posted by Eyes Rolling
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm


There are some 65,000 Palo Alto residents; PAPD can't be everywhere. Are you really that special? Then buy a house.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Eyes Rolling - really? Is this the time for such economic snobbery? Do you not recall all the armed robberies that happened in PA in front of peoples' homes & in their driveways? Terrifying, utterly terrifying. Sorry to beat up on you, but this incident is also scary, & I suspect Me is scared & angry. Why subject them to your snobbery? Heck, I live in a low income area & have security. But I don't deserve it because the property I own is in Europe, not Palo Alto? Sheesh! Besides, no matter how safe we try to make our lives, bad things happen - even to well off, smug property owners.

Posted by ThatGuy
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm

It's time to arm up and be ready for these suckers. Anybody that robs me is taking their life in their own hands. I have a right to defend myself, period.

Posted by Me
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I don't understand the personal attacks. I am simply stating facts. What does buying a house have to do with a person being special? It's not wise to buy a home here. Let's stay intelligent, mature and on task.

Posted by Mr.Congeniality
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm

"Police will no longer be able to respond to crimes" so yeah, I guess it's on our "landlords" to stop criminals...

Web Link

Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Come to think of it there is very little by way of physical security here for the residents. The parking garage structure is wide open and easily accessible from several walkways. There are no security cameras. I do see private security on patrol 2-3 times a month in the evenings. The town houses and apartment residences are not gated though.

Posted by MissMuffet
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:14 pm

I was just sitting on my tuffet and thought how interesting it is that people now quietly acknowledge that they aren't really served or protected by police, accepting instead that the police are there to violate innocent citizens through harassment and fines.

"Please help us landlords, you're our only hope." ~Obi State Kenobi

Posted by Eyes Rolling
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:24 pm

@Me, Hmmm: OK, I agree, my response was a bit harsh, but it was a knee-jerk reaction to people who disrespect our PAPD. Our law enforcement risk their lives everyday for strangers and I get tired of cowards behind computer aliases bashing PAPD on this forum. Policemen are only human and can't be everywhere at once. I tire of reading, "I pay my taxes, do something!" They even say it to their faces, according to someone I know who quit the PAPD due to the entitled citizens' attitudes.

Re the robberies, it was the same criminal who was responsible for the other robberies - he'd follow them from Safeway to their houses and he was caught, using someone's credit card, I believe.

While this is an unfortunate occurence, landlords can't control the criminals and can't be blamed either. If tenants want 24-hour security, they need to agree to pay a higher rent to cover the cost.

Posted by ThatGuy
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I would like the money back that goes to pay police salaries if they aren't doing their job assuring our safety. They are essentially an out of control security company feeing and fining their way to holiday bonuses. We are on our own.

Posted by Fear the Greer
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2013 at 12:13 am

The management won't be quiet about it tomorrow when I'm in the office first thing in the morning. If anything a notice needs to be put on our doors. It should have already been done. I'm going to tell everyone I see. I'm also going to request PAPD escort me to my front door at night. To serve and protect, right? I will respect them when they show up to escort me (a.ka. doing their job) Nowhere in my lease does it state Prometheus is responsible for this.

Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 10, 2013 at 1:42 am

@ThatGuy - PAPD isn't out of control, they are understaffed. If you want to feel safe, get 30 officers out on patrol instead of 8.

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 10, 2013 at 2:34 am

First, the other day I drove through Atherton to get to Redwood City along Middlefield ... I saw 5 police cars along the way. I thought that was amazing and wondered why Atherton has so many police and can patrol their city to that extent. Maybe it was a coincidence or the officers stick to Middlefield because it is one of the largest arteries in the area, but it was nice to see that level of protection.

Second, to "Reality, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood" who said -
>>> "Anon" - If you had been held up at gunpoint and had a gun, what would you do? Would you take out the gun? If the suspect saw the gun and then shot you, then what? I think we know the answer to that... ;-)

This obviously takes more thought that "reality" is willing to bring to bear.

The dynamics of this kind of situation are not so simple, and what I said was that I would feel better if I was armed, what I did or was able to do is always up in the air, I said I would feel better and I do not feel I should have to game out such a scenario for someone who dashes off an unthinking retort.

The fact is that muggers go out to find someone vulnerable or unprotected - not to kill people. If a criminal was confronted with a gun, I think there is a high probability that they would think taking a life for nothing would not be worth it. Yes, there may be unpredictable hateful nuts, but then they might kill someone even if they were not armed. There are many cases where someone refused to give over their property and the criminal just runs away. You don't know and I don't know - but I would feel better having the option to decide what to do.

Likewise, I would not want to be responsible for shooting someone, especially killing someone, even a criminal, so I might try shooting the tire out or maybe I would do nothing. I'm no member of the NRA and they are kind of nuts, but the data tends to suggest that like the flu does not get to be so epidemic when there are a certain number of immunized people in a population, the same with criminals and armed citizens. There is less crime in areas where people are armed.

To say that this might have been avoided if the victim had been more aware is like blaming the victim. No one can be alert and on guard their whole life, and as I said - there was a similar crime committed here a few years ago ... I would not be surprised if it was not the same person - and I don't think that crime was ever solved.

If you think we ought to just live with that kind of threat "reality" we must disagree. We should do whatever is needed to make the streets and parking lots of Palo Alto safe to be in. Platitudes and eye-rolling helps no one.

I also do not like to hear Police being disparaged for not being able to stop or solve crimes that they do not have the resources to solve. This kind of random crime I would think is very hard to solve without some kind of tip or video or accidental evidence - I hope some shows up. I am fine with disparaging police like the Menlo Park officer who was caught with a prostitute while on duty ... but them it's funny how the pseudo-Liberals switch sides then - in any case they seem to think whatever the police do it wrong - without thinking. I don't think they deserve much thought or consideration.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2013 at 9:34 am

We have crappy landlords but at least we get notices from them about crime trends & reminders to call security. For those naive enough to believe your landlord doesn't have any responsibility for your safety, rethink that. If they are trying to suppress info on this crime, that's also a problem. For pity's sake, at least demand security cameras if you think it would help.

PAPD was there in about a minute yesterday. That's a pretty fast response time & it's terrible the bad guy wasn't caught for his daylight crime, but there are a lot of places to hide & it's close to 101 & arterial streets.

Posted by me
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 10, 2013 at 10:20 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Cheese n Rice
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm

One of my friends was accosted in her garage off Greer about five years ago. She put her house up for sale almost immediately afterward, which was not a good time economically, but she felt she could not stay in that neighborhood another day. She ended up buying in southern RWC, just north of Atherton, and likes it so much better. Better house, better neighborhood, less crime....... For less dough!

Posted by Me
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Well, I just saw the 24 hour foot patrol security guy that they hired to walk the premises at Parker Palo Alto and he is armed. I won't say with what but he's armed and he is a big guy and told me lots of things that make me feel 100% safe here now. Privatized security is the only way to ensure safety to begin with. The police are costumed collection agents. A revenue generator. I applaud Parker Palo Alto for taking such swift, appropriate action. I have lived here for quite a while and they are a stand up operation.

Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Police staffing is what it is because the city council decided to cut/not fill over a dozen positions over the past several years and instead use the money to fund positions on zero waste, hire assistants to the City Manager for things like sustainability, to fund studies for the downtown developers, fund studies for the bike bridge, fund studies for the compost factory, fund studies for more bike lanes, ... (you get the idea).

Just keep re-electing the same council members, and pretty soon the police force will be down to half of what it was a few years ago.

Posted by What the real Scoop on PAPD
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

I believe the low staffing reports are excuses from the PAPD and city government. Basically, when you see the PAPD in your neighborhoods, they are mostly trolling for vehicles with issues like parking tickets, and registration matters, as opposed to keeping an eye on the neighborhoods from criminal protection like burglaries, and robberies. The number of burglaries and robberies in PA have increased over the past three years, and endless stories like these show the trend continues. What do these officers do all day, and night with their time? Makes one wonder. Of course, they cannot be everywhere all the time, but for the pay they make, and the numbers of officers they do have, I would say their priorities are the issue. In general the PAPD
officers are good people, but public and property safety of the residents should be their number one priority, and not revenue generating actions regarding vehicles. It's a shame where city people project their focus.

Posted by Embarassed for midtown.
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

Someone was robbed at gunpoint in our neighborhood, on a Saturday morning!
How about instead of telling your neighbor to 'buy a house' or namecalling, you do something. Anything. Such a great town, with so many people with time to spare, and they spend it writing comments like that. If anything is wrong with our town, perhaps it's people like you.

Posted by Dfendnt
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2013 at 11:52 am

When you see cops ticketing, doesn't mean they are ignoring a crime in process. If he were seen sitting in his car, waiting for a crime, he'd be insulted too. It's a no-win situation with these Palo Alto whiners. From reading, it seems clear that when a 911 call is dispatched, the PAPD are there within minutes so they are doing their jobs correctly. They can't possibly be at everyone's carport or front door - we have 65,000 residents! We can't gate off our community from the criminals who travel to our city because they view it as Candyland. For those who have to walk to their residence in an empty area where criminals can hide, I suggest you take care of yourselves by finding a new place to live instead of blaming the PAPD for not being Supermen.

Posted by ainsley Mitchell
a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Another incident from some trigger happy idiot whom brandishes a gun thinking he is a "Big Man" when in actual fact he is as "Yellow" as they come because he needs a gun to carry out something he would not even be capable off without it. Hopefully the police will catch this "Yellow Freak" and deal with him accordingly.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

First, the article clearly states that the crime happened at 8:45 a.m. last Saturday morning. Second, these stories are becoming alarmingly frequent. It's pretty clear that bad things are happening at any old time and not just in the wee hours of the morning. CITY HALL: wake up! It's pretty clear we are not going to get more cops (see: comments by Common Sense - he makes some good points about how this City spends money)so is the answer more Community Watch? NOT carrying a wallet or purse? NEVER being alone when outside? I wonder what the PAPD would advise re wearing a good, shrill whistle for alerting people when in peril.

Posted by Police Supporter
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I came home to find a burglar in my house a couple of years ago. After I confronted him, he fled in a car parked across the street. He broke a window to gain entry. But the police were there amazingly fast. The 911 person told me to exit the house and wait for police. I knew the guy was gone, but they exercised caution by entering and searching the house (gulp, including my messy spare room) before allowing me to enter. They took a description of the car and some of them began to look for him. They fingerprinted. Some detectives then came and interviewed me later. They sent me to San Jose to have a police artist walk me through a sketch of the guy - white by the way.

The guy wasn't caught, but I certainly felt that everything possible was done by the Palo Alto police. I've lived in my house for 30 years, and that's the only crime that's ever affected me. I chalked the whole thing up to random fate and haven't really been worried or felt unsafe since.

Posted by Dear Annette
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm

@Annette - "First, the article clearly states that the crime happened at 8:45 a.m. last Saturday morning."

The original article did not specify the time. It only stated that the robbery occurred on Saturday morning.As you can see, this article was updated on Sunday at 2:06pm, probably to include the specific time.

Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

>> Dear Me,

Other people have already made my point that what you should demand is PRIVATE security from your landlord, not 24-hour police protection, but:

How could I resist writing, "Dear Me."


Posted by hassle
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm

police exist to harass poor people. ufo's are in the sky....honestly. no more lies. ufo wants you. we dont lie. check ufo videos online. thats the force.

Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I never understood why people enjoy arguing on the internet. They vent all their frustrations, but never help toward finding a resolution to the actual problem.

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